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Saturday, July 27, 2019

New sounds from Ennieloud, Shayla McDaniel, Annie Keating, Kaiser Chiefs, Of Monsters & Men

North London's EnnieLoud is described as "A trio of musical innovators from various compass points [who] coalesced and crafted their alt-soul sonics in the hugely diverse neighbourhood of Wood Green, a cultural melting pot if ever there was." The band is fronted by singer-songwriter (and street-dancer) Cassandra, influenced by singers ranging from Aretha Franklin to Erykah Badu. We're happy to introduce our listeners to this emerging band and its new single, an ode to its neighborhood called "In My Room."

We previously featured the single "Tension" from another emerging artist, Tennessee singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Shayla McDaniel. She's just released her latest EP, Both of My Hands, a six-track collection of soulful jazz-pop. We're now featuring the opening track, "Untied," a song of commitment to a lover or friend: "I’d hold you together / When your pieces don’t fit right / When you come untied."

Also just added to our New Music Bin:

Some Brooklyn Americana by Annie Keating, who mixes country, blues and rock influences on her new album, Can't Stand Still. We're featuring the opening track, a fierce declaration of independence called "Beholden."

We hop back to the UK for a taste of Kaiser Chief's new album Duck. It's the seventh from the Leeds-based alt-rock band. Where their last outing, 2017's Stay Together, took an electro-pop direction and 2014's Education, Education, Education and War was decidedly political, this collection sounds, as The NME puts it, "casually confident." Our pick for the New Music Bin is "Wait."
The just-released album by Of Monsters and Men, Fever Dream, expands their sound beyond its folk roots. We previously featured the guitar-driven "Alligator" and now we're picking up "Wild Roses," which builds from quiet tension to rocking release. “The song shows an introverted side to the album and is influenced by a bit of dance music and Joseph Campbell’s The Power Of Myth and what it is like to lean into your sadness,’” co-vocalist Nanna Hilmarsdóttir said in a statement.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Our latest picks: Wilco, Lizzie No, Dhani Harrison, In The Valley Below and JoJo Worthington

Wilco waltzes into our New Music bin this week with "Love Is Everywhere (Beware)," the lead single from the band's 11th album, Ode to Joy, due in October. It's a song of hope with an undercurrent of worry, insisting that love exists in a time of increasing social tension. The band says the album's theme is "the act of finding joy in a dark political climate."

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lizzie No adds a rock-band backing to her latest piece of observation and introspection, "Born and Bred." Starting with an image of confusing signage on a New Jersey highway, the song "is also about how none of the big milestones in this life come with an easy-to-read sign letting you know what to do," says No. Her new album, Vanity, comes out in a couple of weeks.

A highway also figures into "Motorways (Erase It)," a new song from Dhani Harrison. “I’ve spent a lot of time stuck in traffic on the M4 motorway going into London recently, it always makes me think of the Banksy [graffiti] that used to say ‘it’s not a race.’" This song, too, speaks of trying to figure out life: "All those dreams they take from you when you're young / In all those dreams you can feel yourself waking up ... The motorways are never gonna take you to where you want." The track is Harrison's first release since his 2017 LP In///Parallel.

Los Angeles electro-pop duo In The Valley Below recently released its second album, Pink Chateau, which includes the previously released title track and other recent singles along with new songs. We're now featuring "Blue Sky Drugs." The title seems to be a metaphor for illusions or deceptions in a relationship gone sour: "All this big love / Was just fairy dust / Now I'm running out / Of all your blue sky drugs."

JoJo Worthington blends strains of folk, electronic pop and experimental music on her new album, TCYK (The Company You Keep). We've played a couple of tracks on our Sunday show The Bistro, and now we're featuring "Stabilize" in our New Music bin. The Ontario artist describes it as "a song that asks for community and support in order to help those around us who are affected by mental illness. ... It also pleads for mutual support among the sexes, to come together and 'stabilize' the world around us."

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Just added: Jackson Browne/Leslie Mendelson, City & Colour, Dizzy, Thom Artway, Cold War Kids

Jackson Browne teams up with New York singer-songwriter Leslie Mendelson on "Human Touch." The beautiful duet was recorded for the closing credits of a documentary, "5B," about San Francisco hospital workers coping with the AIDS crisis in the 1980s. Billboard has a good article explaining how Browne, Mendelson and her regular collaborator, Steve McEwan, worked together on the song. Browne told the magazine he hopes to write more with Mendelson and McEwan in the future.

City and Colour is prepping an album for release this fall and recently released a single called "Strangers." Frontman Dallas Green says the song "is about how you will never truly know another human being. ... You'll never really understand what it's like to be inside someone else's brain or heart. So, we need to appreciate the differences. If we do, maybe we can live better with one another." Green expands C&C's sound on this track, with "fuzzy, reverberating electric guitars and weighty percussion" that "fit a more stadium-rock-ready mold," as Paste Magazine puts it.

Green's Ontario neighbors Dizzy have just released an EP, Heavy/Twist, consisting of two new songs and some alternate mixes. It's a follow-up to last year's debut LP, Baby Teeth. Our pick for the New Music bin is "Twist." Lead vocalist Katie Munshaw says the track "marks the first time we’ve had the confidence to fully self-produce our music. We decided to give the song more of an analog sound than Baby Teeth by including live drums and piano." The lyric, she says, is "about the hold someone can have over you even after they’ve left your life."

We jump to Europe - specifically, the Czech Republic - to bring you a new single from singer-songwriter Thom Artway. "Chasing the Wires" is a duet with Czech singer Lenny. It's from Artway's new album, All I Know, the follow-up to a 2016 debut LP that won awards in his home country. The lyric tells of a couple wanting, but struggling, to connect: "We share the same desire / but feel so far apart."

California's Cold War Kids bring a blue-eyed-funk sound to "Complainer," a new single ahead of a forthcoming album called New Age Norms. It's a critique of someone who's all talk and little action. "You got big plans but you never take a chance," Nathan Willett sings, and later: "You say you want to change this world / Well, do you really believe in magic? / But you can only change yourself / Don't sit around and complain about it."

Saturday, July 6, 2019

New tunes from Jacobs Run, Tyler Boone, Low Life Lolas, Lenny Bull and *repeat repeat

This week in our New Music bin: repeat appearances by four bands, and the first by a band with a name that repeats. (Our notes are brief this time because we're kinda in vacation mode.)

We were introduced to Melbourne trio Jacobs Run about two years ago, but it's been a while since we've had a new track to add. Now comes the single "Superman," a solid alt-rock song on the familiar theme of an "ordinary man" striving to be super for the one he loves.

Charlston-via-Nashville singer-songwriter-guitarist Tyler Boone has been in our big mix for a few years, and we've noted the wide variety of styles - rock, blues, country-tinged ballads - in his repertoire. On "Jealousy," from his latest EP, his subdued, reverb'ed vocal contrasts with angry-sounding guitar and drums.

Toronto indie band Low Life Lolas made their debut on our playlist a couple of months ago with "Darling I Won't Ask." Now we're featuring another track from their debut EP, Wolves, called "Under My Skin."

We're also pulling out another cut from Sharp Teeth, the solo debut of Toronto-based Lenny Bull. She and her band continue to remind us of early Pretenders on "Turn Me On."

And it's back to Nashville for *repeat repeat and "Hi, I'm Waiting." This bouncy, summery tune is from the third album, Glazed, by the project of husband and wife Jared Corder (vocals, guitar) and Kristyn Corder (keyboards, vocals). AllMusic describes their sound as "surfy garage pop ... equal parts ebullience and grit."